37 of the 53 Commonwealth countries still criminalize being LGBT+

Every year on the second Monday in March, many of the countries of the former British Empire observe Commonwealth Day – which marks an opportunity for advocates of LGBT+ equality to note that homosexuality remains criminalized in 37 of the 53 Commonwealth countries, a sadly perennial side-effect of colonial rule.

The British empire outlawed homosexuality in every country where it held power – a reflection of its own Victorian-era laws and social attitudes.

As a result, as Pink News reports, more than a third of the world’s population currently lives in countries with anti-LGBT+ laws that can be traced back to colonial influence.

In 2013 the Supreme Court of India, the most populous country in the Commonwealth, again made homosexuality illegal by reinstating Section 377.

When the Baroness Scotland became Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, she identified LGBT+ rights as one of her key concerns. But since then, little progress has been made.

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